Bill Text: NJ S3103 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires seizure of ammunition and certain firearm components in response to domestic violence restraining order or conviction.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-11-05 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee [S3103 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S3103-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3103

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 5, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires seizure of ammunition and certain firearm components in response to domestic violence restraining order or conviction.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning domestic violence and firearms and amending various parts of the statutory law. 

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:39-1 is amended to read as follows: 

     2C:39-1.  Definitions. The following definitions apply to this chapter and to chapter 58:

     a.     "Antique firearm" means any rifle or shotgun and "antique cannon" means a destructive device defined in paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section, if the rifle, shotgun or destructive device, as the case may be, is incapable of being fired or discharged, or which does not fire fixed ammunition, regardless of date of manufacture, or was manufactured before 1898 for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available, and is possessed as a curiosity or ornament or for its historical significance or value.

     b.    "Deface" means to remove, deface, cover, alter or destroy the name of the maker, model designation, manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification mark or number on any firearm.

     c.     "Destructive device" means any device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, including (1) any explosive or incendiary bomb, mine or grenade; (2) any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces or any missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter of an ounce; (3) any weapon capable of firing a projectile of a caliber greater than 60 caliber, except a shotgun or shotgun ammunition generally recognized as suitable for sporting purposes; (4) any Molotov cocktail or other device consisting of a breakable container containing flammable liquid and having a wick or similar device capable of being ignited.  The term does not include any device manufactured for the purpose of illumination, distress signaling, line-throwing, safety or similar purposes.

     d.    "Dispose of" means to give, give away, lease, loan, keep for sale, offer, offer for sale, sell, transfer, or otherwise transfer possession.

     e.     "Explosive" means any chemical compound or mixture that is commonly used or is possessed for the purpose of producing an explosion and which contains any oxidizing and combustible materials or other ingredients in such proportions, quantities or packing that an ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion or by detonation of any part of the compound or mixture may cause such a sudden generation of highly heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are capable of producing destructive effects on contiguous objects. The term shall not include small arms ammunition, or explosives in the form prescribed by the official United States Pharmacopoeia.

     f.     "Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances.  It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.

     g.    "Firearm silencer" means any instrument, attachment, weapon or appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm.

     h.    "Gravity knife" means any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force.

     i.     "Machine gun" means any firearm, mechanism or instrument not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir, belt or other means of storing and carrying ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism or instrument and fired therefrom.  A machine gun also shall include, without limitation, any firearm with a trigger crank attached.

     j.     "Manufacturer" means any person who receives or obtains raw materials or parts and processes them into firearms or finished parts of firearms, except a person who exclusively processes grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms.  The term does not include a person who repairs existing firearms or receives new and used raw materials or parts solely for the repair of existing firearms.

     k.    "Handgun" means any pistol, revolver or other firearm originally designed or manufactured to be fired by the use of a single hand.

     l.     "Retail dealer" means any person including a gunsmith, except a manufacturer or a wholesale dealer, who sells, transfers or assigns for a fee or profit any firearm or parts of firearms or ammunition which he has purchased or obtained with the intention, or for the purpose, of reselling or reassigning to persons who are reasonably understood to be the ultimate consumers, and includes any person who is engaged in the business of repairing firearms or who sells any firearm to satisfy a debt secured by the pledge of a firearm.

     m.   "Rifle" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

     n.    "Shotgun" means any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder and using the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shots or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, or any firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder which does not fire fixed ammunition.

     o.    "Sawed-off shotgun" means any shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length measured from the breech to the muzzle, or any firearm made from a rifle or a shotgun, whether by alteration, or otherwise, if such firearm as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

     p.    "Switchblade knife" means any knife or similar device which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife.

     q.    "Superintendent" means the Superintendent of the State Police.

     r.     "Weapon" means anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury.  The term includes, but is not limited to, all (1) firearms, even though not loaded or lacking a clip or other component to render them immediately operable; (2) components which can be readily assembled into a weapon; (3) gravity knives, switchblade knives, daggers, dirks, stilettos, or other dangerous knives, billies, blackjacks, bludgeons, metal knuckles, sandclubs, slingshots, cesti or similar leather bands studded with metal filings or razor blades imbedded in wood; and (4) stun guns; and any weapon or other device which projects, releases, or emits tear gas or any other substance intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or permanent injury through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air.

     s.     "Wholesale dealer" means any person, except a manufacturer, who sells, transfers, or assigns firearms, or parts of firearms, to persons who are reasonably understood not to be the ultimate consumers, and includes persons who receive finished parts of firearms and assemble them into completed or partially completed firearms, in furtherance of such purpose, except that it shall not include those persons dealing exclusively in grips, stocks and other nonmetal parts of firearms.

     t.     "Stun gun" means any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person.

     u.    "Ballistic knife" means any weapon or other device capable of lethal use and which can propel a knife blade.

     v.    "Imitation firearm" means an object or device reasonably capable of being mistaken for a firearm.

     w.   "Assault firearm" means:

     (1)   The following firearms:

            Algimec AGM1 type

            Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder such as the "Street Sweeper" or "Striker 12"

            Armalite AR-180 type

            Australian Automatic Arms SAR

            Avtomat Kalashnikov type semi-automatic firearms

            Beretta AR-70 and BM59 semi-automatic firearms

            Bushmaster Assault Rifle

            Calico M-900 Assault carbine and M-900

            CETME G3

            Chartered Industries of Singapore SR-88 type

            Colt AR-15 and CAR-15 series

            Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1 and Max 2, AR 100 types

            Demro TAC-1 carbine type

            Encom MP-9 and MP-45 carbine types

            FAMAS MAS223 types

            FN-FAL, FN-LAR, or FN-FNC type semi-automatic firearms

            Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12 shotguns

            G3SA type

            Galil type Heckler and Koch HK91, HK93, HK94, MP5, PSG-1

            Intratec TEC 9 and 22 semi-automatic firearms

            M1 carbine type

            M14S type

            MAC 10, MAC 11, MAC 11-9mm carbine type firearms

            PJK M-68 carbine type

            Plainfield Machine Company Carbine

            Ruger K-Mini-14/5F and Mini-14/5RF

            SIG AMT, SIG 550SP, SIG 551SP, SIG PE-57 types

            SKS with detachable magazine type

            Spectre Auto carbine type

            Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48 type

            Sterling MK-6, MK-7 and SAR types

            Steyr A.U.G. semi-automatic firearms

            USAS 12 semi-automatic type shotgun

            Uzi type semi-automatic firearms

            Valmet M62, M71S, M76, or M78 type semi-automatic firearms

            Weaver Arm Nighthawk.

     (2)   Any firearm manufactured under any designation which is substantially identical to any of the firearms listed above.

     (3)   A semi-automatic shotgun with either a magazine capacity exceeding six rounds, a pistol grip, or a folding stock.

     (4)   A semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding 10 rounds.  "Assault firearm" shall not include a semi-automatic rifle which has an attached tubular device and which is capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

     (5)   A part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault firearm, or any combination of parts from which an assault firearm may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.

     (6)   A firearm with a bump stock attached. 

     x.    "Semi-automatic" means a firearm which fires a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger and is self-reloading or automatically chambers a round, cartridge, or bullet.

     y.    "Large capacity ammunition magazine" means a box, drum, tube or other container which is capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition to be fed continuously and directly therefrom into a semi-automatic firearm. The term shall not include an attached tubular device which is capable of holding only .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

     z.     "Pistol grip" means a well-defined handle, similar to that found on a handgun, that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, and which permits the shotgun to be held and fired with one hand.

     aa.   "Antique handgun" means a handgun manufactured before 1898, or a replica thereof, which is recognized as being historical in nature or of historical significance and either (1) utilizes a match, friction, flint, or percussion ignition, or which utilizes a pin-fire cartridge in which the pin is part of the cartridge or (2) does not fire fixed ammunition or for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available.

     bb.  "Trigger lock" means a commercially available device approved by the Superintendent of State Police which is operated with a key or combination lock that prevents a firearm from being discharged while the device is attached to the firearm.  It may include, but need not be limited to, devices that obstruct the barrel or cylinder of the firearm, as well as devices that immobilize the trigger.

     cc.   "Trigger locking device" means a device that, if installed on a firearm and secured by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock, prevents the firearm from being discharged without first deactivating or removing the device by means of a key or mechanically, electronically or electromechanically operated combination lock.

     dd.  "Personalized handgun" means a handgun which incorporates within its design a permanent programmable feature as part of its manufacture that cannot be deactivated and renders the personalized handgun reasonably resistant to being fired except when activated by the lawful owner or other authorized user.  No make or model of a handgun shall be deemed to be a "personalized handgun" unless the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.7) has determined in accordance with section 2 of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.8), that the personalized handgun meets the performance standards and qualifying criteria established pursuant to section 2of P.L.2019, c.164 (C.2C:58-2.8).

     ee.   "Bump stock" means any device or instrument for a firearm that increases the rate of fire achievable with the firearm by using energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates repeated activation of the trigger.

     ff.   "Trigger crank" means any device or instrument to be attached to a firearm that repeatedly activates the trigger of the firearm through the use of a lever or other part that is turned in a circular motion; provided, however, the term shall not include any weapon initially designed and manufactured to fire through the use of a crank or lever.

     gg.  "Armor piercing ammunition" means: (1) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and is constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (2) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile. "Armor piercing ammunition" shall not include shotgun shot required by federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the United States Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the United States Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil gas well perforating device.

     hh.  "Covert firearm" means any firearm that is constructed in a shape or configuration such that it does not resemble a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or machine gun including, but not limited to, a firearm that resembles a key-chain, pen, cigarette lighter, cigarette package, cellphone, smart phone, wallet, or cane.

     ii.    "Undetectable firearm" means a firearm that: (1) after removal of all parts other than major components, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar; or (2) includes a major component which, if the firearm were subjected to inspection by the types of detection devices commonly used at airports for security screening, would not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the component. "Undetectable firearm" shall not be construed to include a firearm subject to the provisions of paragraphs (3) through (6) of subsection (p) of 18 U.S.C. s.922.

     jj.    "Major component" means the slide or cylinder or the frame or receiver of a firearm and, in the case of a rifle or shotgun, also includes the barrel.

     kk.  "Security Exemplar" means the Security Exemplar fabricated in accordance with subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (p) of 18 U.S.C. s.922.

     ll."Authorized user" means the lawful owner of a personalized handgun or a person to whom the owner has given consent to use the personalized handgun.

     mm.  "Firearm accessory" means any device that attaches to a firearm, or that is used in or facilitates the operation of a firearm, including but not limited to, stocks, grips, and detachable magazines.

     nn. "Firearm component" means any part of a firearm that is material to the function of the firearm including, but not limited to, a major component as defined in subsection jj. of this section.

(cf:  P.L.2019, c.164, s.6)

 

     2.    Section 5 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-21) is amended to read as follows: 

     5.    a.  When a person claims to be a victim of domestic violence, and where a law enforcement officer responding to the incident finds probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, the law enforcement officer shall arrest the person who is alleged to be the person who subjected the victim to domestic violence and shall sign a criminal complaint if:

     (1)   The victim exhibits signs of injury caused by an act of domestic violence;

     (2)   A warrant is in effect;

     (3)   There is probable cause to believe that the person has violated N.J.S.2C:29-9, and there is probable cause to believe that the person has been served with the order alleged to have been violated.  If the victim does not have a copy of a purported order, the officer may verify the existence of an order with the appropriate law enforcement agency; or

     (4)   There is probable cause to believe that a weapon as defined in N.J.S.2C:39-1 has been involved in the commission of an act of domestic violence.

     b.    A law enforcement officer may arrest a person; or may sign a criminal complaint against that person, or may do both, where there is probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed, but where none of the conditions in subsection a. of this section applies.

     c.     (1)  As used in this section, the word "exhibits" is to be liberally construed to mean any indication that a victim has suffered bodily injury, which shall include physical pain or any impairment of physical condition. Where the victim exhibits no visible sign of injury, but states that an injury has occurred, the officer should consider other relevant factors in determining whether there is probable cause to make an arrest.

     (2)   In determining which party in a domestic violence incident is the victim where both parties exhibit signs of injury, the officer should consider the comparative extent of the injuries, the history of domestic violence between the parties, if any, and any other relevant factors.

     (3)   No victim shall be denied relief or arrested or charged under this act with an offense because the victim used reasonable force in self defense against domestic violence by an attacker.

     d.    (1)  In addition to a law enforcement officer's authority to seize any weapon that is contraband, evidence or an instrumentality of crime, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed shall:

     (a)   question persons present to determine whether there are weapons on the premises; and

     (b)   upon observing or learning that a weapon is present on the premises, seize any weapon that the officer reasonably believes would expose the victim to a risk of serious bodily injury.  If a law enforcement officer seizes any firearm pursuant to this paragraph, the officer shall also seize any ammunition, or firearm accessory or firearm component as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, and any firearm purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the person accused of the act of domestic violence.

     (2)   A law enforcement officer shall deliver all weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, firearm components, firearms purchaser identification cards, and permits to purchase a handgun seized pursuant to this section to the county prosecutor and shall append an inventory of all seized items to the domestic violence report.

     (3)   Weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components seized in accordance with the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991", P.L.1991,c.261(C.2C:25-17 et seq.) shall be returned to the owner except upon order of the Superior Court.  The prosecutor who has possession of the seized weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components may, upon notice to the owner, petition a judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, within 45 days of seizure, to obtain title to the seized weapons, or to revoke any and all permits, licenses and other authorizations for the use, possession, or ownership of such weapons pursuant to the law governing such use, possession, or ownership, or may object to the return of the weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components on such grounds as are provided for the initial rejection or later revocation of the authorizations, or on the grounds that the owner is unfit or that the owner poses a threat to the public in general or a person or persons in particular.

     A hearing shall be held and a record made thereof within 45 days of the notice provided above.  No formal pleading and no filing fee shall be required as a preliminary to such hearing.  The hearing shall be summary in nature. Appeals from the results of the hearing shall be to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, in accordance with the law.

     If the prosecutor does not institute an action within 45 days of seizure, the seized weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components shall be returned to the owner.

     After the hearing the court shall order the return of the firearms, weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, firearm components, and any authorization papers relating to the seized weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, firearm components to the owner if the court determines the owner is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in N.J.S.2C:58-3c. and finds that the complaint has been dismissed at the request of the complainant and the prosecutor determines that there is insufficient probable cause to indict; or if the defendant is found not guilty of the charges; or if the court determines that the domestic violence situation no longer exists.      Nothing in this act shall impair the right of the State to retain evidence pending a criminal prosecution.  Nor shall any provision of this act be construed to limit the authority of the State or a law enforcement officer to seize, retain or forfeit property pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

     If, after the hearing, the court determines that the weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components, are not to be returned to the owner, the court may:

     (a)   With respect to weapons other than firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components, order the prosecutor to dispose of the weapons if the owner does not arrange for the transfer or sale of the weapons to an appropriate person within 60 days; or

     (b)   Order the revocation of the owner's firearms purchaser identification card or any permit, license or authorization, in which case the court shall order the owner to surrender any firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component seized and all other firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components possessed to the prosecutor and shall order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components if the owner does not arrange for the sale of the firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components to a registered dealer of the firearms within 60 days; or

     (c)   Order such other relief as it may deem appropriate.  When the court orders the weapons, firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components forfeited to the State or the prosecutor is required to dispose of the weapons, the prosecutor shall dispose of the property as provided in N.J.S.2C:64-6.

     (4)   A civil suit may be brought to enjoin a wrongful failure to return a seized firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component where the prosecutor refuses to return the [weapon] firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component after receiving a written request to do so and notice of the owner's intent to bring a civil action pursuant to this section.  Failure of the prosecutor to comply with the provisions of this act shall entitle the prevailing party in the civil suit to reasonable costs, including attorney's fees, provided that the court finds that the prosecutor failed to act in good faith in retaining the seized weapon.

     (5)   No law enforcement officer or agency shall be held liable in any civil action brought by any person for failing to learn of, locate or seize a weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component pursuant to this act, or for returning a seized weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component to its owner.

(cf:  P.L. 2003, c.277, s.1) 

 

     3.    Section 10 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-26) is amended to read as follows:

     10.  a.  When a defendant charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence is released from custody before trial on bail or personal recognizance, the court authorizing the release may as a condition of release issue an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the victim including, but not limited to, restraining the defendant from entering the victim's residence, place of employment or business, or school, and from harassing or stalking the victim or the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives in any way.  The court may also enter an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.  In addition, the court may enter an order directing the possession of the animal and providing that the animal shall not be disposed of prior to the disposition of the crime or offense.  The court may enter an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any firearm , ammunition, or firearm accessory or firearm component as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, or [other] weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and ordering the search for and seizure of any such weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located.  The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.

     b.    The written court order releasing the defendant shall contain the court's directives specifically restricting the defendant's ability to have contact with the victim, the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives, or any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household.  The clerk of the court or other person designated by the court shall provide a copy of this order to the victim forthwith.

     c.     The victim's location shall remain confidential and shall not appear on any documents or records to which the defendant has access.

     d.    Before bail is set, the defendant's prior record shall be considered by the court.  The court shall also conduct a search of the domestic violence central registry.  Bail shall be set as soon as is feasible, but in all cases within 24 hours of arrest.

     e.     Once bail is set it shall not be reduced without prior notice to the county prosecutor and the victim.  Bail shall not be reduced by a judge other than the judge who originally ordered bail, unless the reasons for the amount of the original bail are available to the judge who reduces the bail and are set forth in the record.

     f.     A victim shall not be prohibited from applying for, and a court shall not be prohibited from issuing, temporary restraints pursuant to this act because the victim has charged any person with commission of a criminal act.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.213, s.1) 

 

     4.    Section 11 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-27) is amended to read as follows:  

     11.  a.  When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence and a condition of sentence restricts the defendant's ability to have contact with the victim, the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, that condition shall be recorded in an order of the court and a written copy of that order shall be provided to the victim by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court. In addition to restricting a defendant's ability to have contact with the victim, the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, the court may require the defendant to receive professional counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court, and if the court so orders, the court shall require the defendant to provide documentation of attendance at the professional counseling.  In any case where the court order contains a requirement that the defendant receive professional counseling, no application by the defendant to dissolve the restraining order shall be granted unless, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the defendant has completed all required attendance at such counseling.

     b.    In addition the court may enter an order directing the possession of an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.

     c.     (1)  When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence, the court shall inform the defendant that the defendant is prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm or ammunition pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1979, c.179 (C.2C:39-7), or firearm accessories or firearm components as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3.  The court shall order the defendant to arrange for the immediate surrender to a law enforcement officer of any firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory or firearm component that has not already been seized or surrendered and any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun possessed by the defendant.  No later than five business days after the order is entered, however, the defendant may arrange to sell any surrendered firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component to a licensed retail dealer of firearms who shall be authorized to take possession of that purchased firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component from the law enforcement agency to which it was surrendered no later than 10 business days after the order is entered. Any card or permit issued to the defendant shall be deemed immediately revoked.  The court shall establish a process for notifying the appropriate authorities of the conviction requiring the revocation of the card or permit.  A law enforcement officer accepting a surrendered firearm , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component shall provide the defendant with a receipt listing the date of surrender, the name of the defendant, and any item that has been surrendered, including , as appropriate, the serial number, manufacturer, and model of the surrendered firearm , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component.  The defendant shall provide a copy of this receipt to the prosecutor within 48 hours of service of the order, and shall attest under penalty that any firearms , ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components owned or possessed at the time of the order have been transferred in accordance with this section and that the defendant currently does not possess any [firearms] of these items. The defendant alternatively may attest under penalty that he did not own or possess a firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component at the time of the order and currently does not possess a firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component.  If the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, finds probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender any firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, firearm component, card, or permit, the court may order a search for and removal of these items at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe these items are located.  The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and the scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.

     (2)   A law enforcement officer who receives a firearm , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component that is surrendered, but not purchased and taken possession of by a licensed retail dealer of firearms within 10 business days of when the order is entered pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, may dispose of the surrendered firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:64-6.  A firearm , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component purchased by a licensed retail dealer from a defendant shall become part of the inventory of the dealer.

(cf:  P.L.2016, c.91, s.1) 

 

     5.    Section 12 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28) is amended to read as follows:   

     12.  a.  A victim may file a complaint alleging the commission of an act of domestic violence with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in conformity with the Rules of Court.  The court shall not dismiss any complaint or delay disposition of a case because the victim has left the residence to avoid further incidents of domestic violence.  Filing a complaint pursuant to this section shall not prevent the filing of a criminal complaint for the same act.

     On weekends, holidays and other times when the court is closed, a victim may file a complaint before a judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court or a municipal court judge who shall be assigned to accept complaints and issue emergency, ex parte relief in the form of temporary restraining orders pursuant to this act.

     A plaintiff may apply for relief under this section in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged act of domestic violence occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered, and the court shall follow the same procedures applicable to other emergency applications.  Criminal complaints filed pursuant to this act shall be investigated and prosecuted in the jurisdiction where the offense is alleged to have occurred.  Contempt complaints filed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 shall be prosecuted in the county where the contempt is alleged to have been committed and a copy of the contempt complaint shall be forwarded to the court that issued the order alleged to have been violated.

     b.    The court shall waive any requirement that the petitioner's place of residence appear on the complaint.

     c.     (1)  The clerk of the court, or other person designated by the court, shall assist the parties in completing any forms necessary for the filing of a summons, complaint, answer or other pleading.

     (2)   The plaintiff may provide information concerning firearms to which the defendant has access, including the location of these firearms, if known, on a form to be prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

     (3)   Information provided by the plaintiff concerning firearms , ammunition, or firearm accessories or firearm components as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 to which the defendant has access shall be kept confidential and shall not be disseminated or disclosed, provided that nothing in this subsection shall prohibit dissemination or disclosure of this information in a manner consistent with and in furtherance of the purpose for which the information was provided.

     d.    Summons and complaint forms shall be readily available at the clerk's office, at the municipal courts and at municipal and State police stations.

     e.     As soon as the domestic violence complaint is filed, both the victim and the abuser shall be advised of any programs or services available for advice and counseling.

     f.     A plaintiff may seek emergency, ex parte relief in the nature of a temporary restraining order.  A municipal court judge or a judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court may enter an ex parte order when necessary to protect the life, health or well-being of a victim on whose behalf the relief is sought.

     g.    If it appears that the plaintiff is in danger of domestic violence, the judge shall, upon consideration of the plaintiff's domestic violence complaint, order emergency ex parte relief, in the nature of a temporary restraining order.  A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.

     h.    A judge may issue a temporary restraining order upon sworn testimony or complaint of an applicant who is not physically present, pursuant to court rules, or by a person who represents a person who is physically or mentally incapable of filing personally.  A temporary restraining order may be issued if the judge is satisfied that exigent circumstances exist sufficient to excuse the failure of the applicant to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the application have been shown.

     i.     An order for emergency, ex parte relief shall be granted upon good cause shown and shall remain in effect until a judge of the Family Part issues a further order.  Any temporary order hereunder is immediately appealable for a plenary hearing de novo not on the record before any judge of the Family Part of the county in which the plaintiff resides or is sheltered if that judge issued the temporary order or has access to the reasons for the issuance of the temporary order and sets forth in the record the reasons for the modification or dissolution.  The denial of a temporary restraining order by a municipal court judge and subsequent administrative dismissal of the complaint shall not bar the victim from refiling a complaint in the Family Part based on the same incident and receiving an emergency, ex parte hearing de novo not on the record before a Family Part judge, and every denial of relief by a municipal court judge shall so state.

     j.     Emergency relief may include forbidding the defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence, forbidding the defendant from possessing any firearm [or other], weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, ammunition, or firearm accessory or firearm component as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, ordering the search for and seizure of any firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component is located and the seizure of any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the defendant and any other appropriate relief.

     If the order requires the surrender of any firearm [or , other], weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component a law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to the scene of the domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component belonging to the defendant is located, to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm [or other] , weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component and that the firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component is appropriately surrendered in accordance with the order. If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component belonging to the defendant is located, any firearm [or other] , weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer. The order shall include notice to the defendant of the penalties for a violation of any provision of the order, including but not limited to the penalties for contempt of court and unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon pursuant to N.J.S.2C:39-5.  Other appropriate relief may include but is not limited to an order directing the possession of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household and providing that the animal shall not be disposed of prior to entry of a final order pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29).

     The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of any search and seizure authorized by the order.  The provisions of this subsection prohibiting a defendant from possessing a firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty. 

     k.    The judge may permit the defendant to return to the scene of the domestic violence to pick up personal belongings and effects but shall, in the order granting relief, restrict the time and duration of such permission and provide for police supervision of such visit.

     l.     An order granting emergency relief, together with the complaint or complaints, shall immediately be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency for service on the defendant, and to the police of the municipality in which the plaintiff resides or is sheltered, and shall immediately be served upon the defendant by the police, except that an order issued during regular court hours may be forwarded to the sheriff for immediate service upon the defendant in accordance with the Rules of Court.  If personal service cannot be effected upon the defendant, the court may order other appropriate substituted service.  At no time shall the plaintiff be asked or required to serve any order on the defendant.

     m.   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c.94.)

     n.    Notice of temporary restraining orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court. 

     o.    (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c.94.)

     p.    Any temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to this act shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers. 

     q.    Prior to the issuance of any temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to this section, the court shall order that a search be made of the domestic violence central registry with regard to the defendant's record.

(cf:  P.L.2016, c.91, s.2) 

 

     6.    Section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29) is amended to read as follows: 

     13.  a.  A hearing shall be held in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court within 10 days of the filing of a complaint pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28) in the county where the ex parte restraints were ordered, unless good cause is shown for the hearing to be held elsewhere.  A copy of the complaint shall be served on the defendant in conformity with the Rules of Court. If a criminal complaint arising out of the same incident which is the subject matter of a complaint brought under P.L.1981, c.426 (C.2C:25-1 et seq.) or P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) has been filed, testimony given by the plaintiff or defendant in the domestic violence matter shall not be used in the simultaneous or subsequent criminal proceeding against the defendant, other than domestic violence contempt matters and where it would otherwise be admissible hearsay under the rules of evidence that govern where a party is unavailable.  At the hearing the standard for proving the allegations in the complaint shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.  The court shall consider but not be limited to the following factors:

     (1)   The previous history of domestic violence between the plaintiff and defendant, including threats, harassment and physical abuse;

     (2)   The existence of immediate danger to person or property;

     (3)   The financial circumstances of the plaintiff and defendant;

     (4)   The best interests of the victim and any child;

     (5)   In determining custody and parenting time the protection of the victim's safety; and

     (6)   The existence of a verifiable order of protection from another jurisdiction.

     An order issued under this act shall only restrain or provide damages payable from a person against whom a complaint has been filed under this act and only after a finding or an admission is made that an act of domestic violence was committed by that person.  The issue of whether or not a violation of this act occurred, including an act of contempt under this act, shall not be subject to mediation or negotiation in any form.  In addition, where a temporary or final order has been issued pursuant to this act, no party shall be ordered to participate in mediation on the issue of custody or parenting time.

     b.    In proceedings in which complaints for restraining orders have been filed, the court shall grant any relief necessary to prevent further abuse.  In addition to any other provisions, any restraining order issued by the court shall bar the defendant from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm or ammunition, or any firearm accessory or firearm component as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3 during the period in which the restraining order is in effect or two years, whichever is greater. The order shall require the immediate surrender of any firearm [or other] , weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component belonging to the defendant.  The order shall include notice to the defendant of the penalties for a violation of any provision of the order, including but not limited to the penalties for contempt of court and unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon pursuant to N.J.S.2C:39-5.

     A law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to any place where any firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component belonging to the defendant is located to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm [or other] , weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component, and a law enforcement officer shall take custody of any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant.  If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or other place where firearms [or other weapon] , weapons, ammunition, firearm accessories, or firearm components belonging to the defendant are located, any firearm [or other] , weapon, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer.  The provisions of this subsection requiring the surrender or removal of a firearm, ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component, card, or permit shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.  At the hearing the judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court may issue an order granting any or all of the following relief: 

     (1)   An order restraining the defendant from subjecting the victim to domestic violence, as defined in this act. 

     (2)   An order granting exclusive possession to the plaintiff of the residence or household regardless of whether the residence or household is jointly or solely owned by the parties or jointly or solely leased by the parties.  This order shall not in any manner affect title or interest to any real property held by either party or both jointly.  If it is not possible for the victim to remain in the residence, the court may order the defendant to pay the victim's rent at a residence other than the one previously shared by the parties if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim and the victim requires alternative housing. 

     (3)   An order providing for parenting time.  The order shall protect the safety and well-being of the plaintiff and minor children and shall specify the place and frequency of parenting time. Parenting time arrangements shall not compromise any other remedy provided by the court by requiring or encouraging contact between the plaintiff and defendant.  Orders for parenting time may include a designation of a place of parenting time away from the plaintiff, the participation of a third party, or supervised parenting time.

     (a)   The court shall consider a request by a custodial parent who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with parenting time rights to a child in the parent's custody for an investigation or evaluation by the appropriate agency to assess the risk of harm to the child prior to the entry of a parenting time order.  Any denial of such a request must be on the record and shall only be made if the judge finds the request to be arbitrary or capricious.

     (b)   The court shall consider suspension of the parenting time order and hold an emergency hearing upon an application made by the plaintiff certifying under oath that the defendant's access to the child pursuant to the parenting time order has threatened the safety and well-being of the child.

     (4)   An order requiring the defendant to pay to the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the act of domestic violence.  The order may require the defendant to pay the victim directly, to reimburse the Victims of Crime Compensation Office for any and all compensation paid by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office directly to or on behalf of the victim, and may require that the defendant reimburse any parties that may have compensated the victim, as the court may determine. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or other support, including child or spousal support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, cost of repair or replacement of real or personal property damaged or destroyed or taken by the defendant, cost of counseling for the victim, moving or other travel expenses, reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and compensation for pain and suffering. Where appropriate, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.

     (5)   An order requiring the defendant to receive professional domestic violence counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court and, in that event, requiring the defendant to provide the court at specified intervals with documentation of attendance at the professional counseling.  The court may order the defendant to pay for the professional counseling.  No application by the defendant to dissolve a final order which contains a requirement for attendance at professional counseling pursuant to this paragraph shall be granted by the court unless, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the defendant has completed all required attendance at such counseling.

     (6)   An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or of other family or household members of the victim and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim or other family or household members.

     (7)   An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff or others, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the victim or other family members, or their employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim.

     (8)   An order requiring that the defendant make or continue to make rent or mortgage payments on the residence occupied by the victim if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim or other dependent household members; provided that this issue has not been resolved or is not being litigated between the parties in another action.

     (9)   An order granting either party temporary possession of specified personal property, such as an automobile, checkbook, documentation of health insurance, an identification document, a key, and other personal effects.

     (10) An order awarding emergency monetary relief, including emergency support for minor children, to the victim and other dependents, if any.  An ongoing obligation of support shall be determined at a later date pursuant to applicable law.

     (11) An order awarding temporary custody of a minor child.  The court shall presume that the best interests of the child are served by an award of custody to the non-abusive parent.

     (12) An order requiring that a law enforcement officer accompany either party to the residence or any shared business premises to supervise the removal of personal belongings in order to ensure the personal safety of the plaintiff when a restraining order has been issued.  This order shall be restricted in duration.

     (13) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1995, c.242).

     (14) An order granting any other appropriate relief for the plaintiff and dependent children, provided that the plaintiff consents to such relief, including relief requested by the plaintiff at the final hearing, whether or not the plaintiff requested such relief at the time of the granting of the initial emergency order.

     (15) An order that requires that the defendant report to the intake unit of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court for monitoring of any other provision of the order.

     (16) In addition to the order required by this subsection prohibiting the defendant from possessing any firearm, the court may also issue an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, ammunition, or any firearm accessory or firearm component as defined in subsections mm. and nn. of N.J.S.2C:39-1  and ordering the search for and seizure of any firearm [or other] , weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the firearm, weapon , ammunition, firearm accessory, or firearm component is located.  The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.

     (17) An order prohibiting the defendant from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow, the complainant or any other person named in the order in a manner that, taken in the context of past actions of the defendant, would put the complainant in reasonable fear that the defendant would cause the death or injury of the complainant or any other person.  Behavior prohibited under this act includes, but is not limited to, behavior prohibited under the provisions of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10).

     (18) An order requiring the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

     (19) An order directing the possession of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.

     c.     Notice of orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency.

     d.    Upon good cause shown, any final order may be dissolved or modified upon application to the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court, but only if the judge who dissolves or modifies the order is the same judge who entered the order, or has available a complete record of the hearing or hearings on which the order was based. 

     e.     Prior to the issuance of any order pursuant to this section, the court shall order that a search be made of the domestic violence central registry. 

(cf:  P.L.2016, c.91, s.3) 

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires domestic violence offenders to surrender ammunition and certain firearm components while a domestic violence restraining order is in effect or following a conviction for a domestic violence crime or offense.

     Under current law, a law enforcement officer is required to seize firearms and weapons observed at the scene of a domestic violence incident. In addition, persons convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm.  This bill includes ammunition, firearm accessories, and firearm components among the items that may be seized or surrendered pursuant to a domestic violence restraining order or following a conviction for domestic violence.

     The bill defines "firearm accessory" as any device that attaches to a firearm, or that is used in or facilitates the operation of a firearm, including but not limited to stocks, grips, and detachable magazines. "Firearm component" is defined as any part of a firearm that is material to the function of the firearm, including but not limited to the slide or cylinder or the frame or receiver of a firearm and, in the case of a rifle or shotgun, the barrel.

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